Chipotle Chicken Ropa Vieja Empanadas

Day PartDinner
Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeSpanish

Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Chef Miguel Aguilar created this recipe for the Tacos After Dark event at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami. Although empanadas are not technically tacos, the event welcomes related handheld items with Latin-style fillings. Ropa vieja is typically made by braising meat until it falls apart. Here, chicken thighs are cooked in a flavorful liquid until they are super-tender, then shredded and combined with housemade chipotle ketchup for a spicy kick.


Chipotle ketchup

1 can (7 oz.) chipotles in adobo                                                                                                                                      
7 oz. ketchup                                                                                                                                                                               
1 oz. whole garlic cloves                                                                                                                                               
6 oz. Spanish onion, roughly chopped                                                                                                                                
2 cups sherry vinegar                                                                                                                                                          
2 bay leaves

Braised chicken

5 lb. chicken thighs
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided                                                                                                                                                       
2 qt. water
1 1/2 oz. chicken base
1/4 cup smoked paprika                                                                                                                                                                                
4 medium-large Spanish onions (2 lb.), julienned
1 lb. green bell peppers, julienned
1 lb. red bell peppers, julienned
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

Empanada dough

1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp. vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little more for kneading)
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. shortening


1. Prepare chipotle ketchup: In large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until garlic and onion are softened. Cool mixture; transfer to food processor and puree until smooth. Label and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
2. Prepare chicken: In large stockpot or deep skillet, sear chicken thighs in 1 tablespoon oil until golden brown. Remove chicken and drain oil.
3. Combine water and chicken base; add to pan and deglaze. Stir in 1 cup chipotle ketchup.
4. Place chicken thighs back in pan; add paprika and cook until chicken falls apart, about 30 minutes. Remove thighs from liquid and shred chicken; do not discard liquid.
5. Add remaining 1 cup chipotle ketchup to pot and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
6. In another large skillet, heat remaining olive oil. Add julienned onions and peppers; cook until soft. Add chicken back to reduced liquid; stir in cooked onions and peppers and finish with cilantro and parsley. Cool.
7. Prepare empanada dough: In a bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut shortening into flour mixture.
8. Make a well in center of flour mixture; pour in reserved liquid ingredients. With fork, mix wet and dry ingredients until stiff dough forms.
9. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead just until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but not more than 24 hours.
10. Cut dough in half and sprinkle both the dough and work surface with flour to avoid sticking. With rolling pin, roll out dough approximately 1/8-inch thick; cut out circles with a 6-inch diameter cookie cutter.
11. In center of each circle, place about 1 ounce filling. Brush edge of dough with egg wash; fold dough over filling, connecting edge to edge. Press edges down with fingers and crimp with fork.
12. Pan fry or deep fry empanadas until golden brown. If pan frying, you will need to flip them over to cook both sides.

Latest Recipes

View More